Cross-border attack prompts Pakistan to close Chaman border with Afghanistan

PESHAWAR: Tensions are running high between the border forces of Pakistan and Afghanistan after Islamabad shut one of the main crossings with Kabul for cross-border movement for an “indefinite period,” people familiar with the development said on Monday.

Also known as Friendship Gate, the Chaman border — which connects Balochistan province to southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan — was closed after an armed Afghan reportedly crossed into Pakistan and opened fire on the troops, killing a soldier and wounding another two on Sunday, according to Abdul Hameed Zehri, deputy commissioner of Chaman.

The crossing is a major transit point for truckers moving fruit exports from around the southern Afghan city of Kandahar and its closure comes at a high cost for farmers unable to get their produce to market.

The attack was followed by hours-long firing between the two border troops, prompting the closure of the key trade border between the neighbours.

Zehri said the border will remain closed until the handing over of the suspected attacker.

The two security forces, he added, are holding restraint since the firing was halted on Sunday night.

“The two sides are holding another round of flagship meeting today (Monday) to resolve the issue as we stick to our demand of handing over of the attacker,” a security official from Pakistan told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity as he was not permitted to speak on the record.

“The Afghan officials have informed us that a search operation is underway to nab the attacker, who is still at large,” the official added.

Footage aired on Geo News showed hundreds of trucks loaded with trade goods and other vehicles lined on both sides of the border, awaiting the re-opening of the crossing.

Thousands of citizens, mainly Afghans, who cross into Pakistan’s bordering areas for medical and labour purposes, are also stuck.

Clashes between the two border troops, mainly at the Chaman border, have long been taking place, and there is no lull even after the re-capture of Afghanistan by the Taliban in August last.

In April, Islamabad noted incidents of its security forces being targeted in cross-border attacks from Afghanistan had in fact risen significantly, and called on Taliban authorities to act against militants.

Pakistan and landlocked Afghanistan share 18 crossing points, with the busiest ones being the Torkham and Chaman border posts.

The two neighbours share a porous border of almost 2,670 kilometres (1,640 miles).

— With Reuters


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Must Read

Paint oneself into a corner

AT PENPOINT No case seems more relevant to the present imbroglio about the Punjab and KP Assembly elections than Marbury vs Madison, even though it...